Aston Villa probably can't stave off relegation forever. It's only November, but things are already looking bad this season. But even if they do escape it this year, the club needs to take a major step forward in the next couple years to avoid the every-season struggle it's been in. If you're in the relegation fight every season, it can just happen that one season you get unlucky at the wrong time and you're gone. Wigan couldn't hold on forever.
But what if Villa kept getting lucky? What if every single season Villa kept escaping relegation, but never managed to improve? For one, every Villa fan would probably get at least five year cut off their life from stress. But I decided to take a look into the bleak future of Aston Villa and the perennial relegation fight that awaits them.
The year is 2103. Aston Villa sit in 18th place on May 12th. One match remains in the season. Villa sit two points behind West Bromwich Albion in 17th. Luckily for Villa, West Brom have to travel to Manchester United while Villa host Norwich City.
The post-apocalyptic hellscape that now is Villa Park is the scene for one of the biggest matches in the club's history. Villa's manager, the Ghost of Paul Lambert, sets the team up in a 4-2-3-1 on the day. The spearhead and club captain of Villa is human-cat hybrid Tabby Agbonlahor. He has nearly single-handedly kept Villa safe, dragging them up from 20th, where they sat at Christmas.
The first half is a tight affair. Despite being already relegated, Norwich really dig in to try and bring Villa down with them. Norwich are still upset after Villa poached away Lambert's ghost and Villa owner Tandy Lerner drunkenly held a press conference where he said Villa were bringing him over "for the banter". As the match goes into halftime scoreless, news comes through that West Brom have taken a lead.
In the locker room, Ghost Lambert pleads with his team. "We have 45 minutes left to save ourselves. Tabby, Robo-Guzan, Zombie James Milner, I need all of you. We need to win this match."
Villa come out in the second half on fire. They pepper the Norwich goal, but to no avail. The Norwich goalkeeper, a giant, genetically-modified canary, is having the match of his life. As Villa frantically search for a goal, news of a lifeline filters through. Manchester United have equalized against West Brom.
Time continues to tick away, but still no luck. A nervous energy spreads throughout the crowd. 75 minutes, no luck. 80 minutes, no goal. 85 minutes, still nothing. In the 93rd minute, Villa win a corner. Tabby Agbonlahor swings in a corner. Norwich clear it, but it falls to the feet of Christian Benteke VIII. Benteke unleashes a piledriver of a shot that finds the top left corner. Two minutes later, the referee blows the whistle. Meanwhile, Manchester United scored a late goal to win their match as well. Villa remain in the Premier League once again.
The win comes at price, however. During the corner that lead to the winning goal, there was a clash of heads and Nathan Baker had to come off with a head injury.